RALEIGH, N.C. - For the fifth straight season, the Flyers (4-5-1) do not have a winning record after the first 10 games. But positive signs are emerging.
For one, the Flyers, despite dropping a 5-4 decision Saturday, outplayed the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins.
For another, they rallied past Carolina on Sunday, 4-3, while playing their third set of back-to-back games in the first 17 days of the season.
It was also their fifth game in seven nights.
"It's a lot of games, but that's a good thing," captain Claude Giroux said after collecting a goal and an assist to move into a tie with Edmonton's Connor McDavid for the NHL scoring lead with 12 points, pending the Oilers' late game Sunday. "We're working on our game a lot right now. . . . Obviously we don't have the record we want, but we really believe we're getting better as a team and playing as a team. We're pretty excited to keep rolling here."
Giroux has scored points in nine straight games, matching a career high. He downplayed the fact that he was tied for the NHL scoring lead.
"I'm more worried about the minuses there," he said. He is minus-7 on the season. "If you want to be a good player, you have to be responsible offensively and defensively. We've got some work to do."
Shayne Gostisbehere, Radko Gudas and Brandon Manning scored Sunday, the first time three Flyers defensemen had netted goals since Matt Carle, Lukas Krajicek and Kimmo Timonen tallied in a 5-1 win over New Jersey on March 28, 2010.
Gostisbehere has four goals and seven points in six career games against the Hurricanes.
Wayne Simmonds (two assists) had his third two-point game in the last six contests. . . . Michal Neuvirth made 12 saves in the final 20 minutes to preserve the win. "He was a key figure for us in the third period," coach Dave Hakstol said. "Our energy wasn't great. Guys were battling hard in front of him, but I thought he did a great job for us in the third period." . . . Before holding a 1-0 lead after the first 20 minutes Sunday, the Flyers had not been ahead at the end of their previous 19 first periods in the regular season. . . . Nick Cousins replaced Boyd Gordon as the fourth-line center, and defenseman Andrew MacDonald replaced Nick Schultz. . . . Gudas had seven hits. . . . Manning leads the Flyers with a plus-6 rating this season.